In order to gain employment and legislative representation for non-Brahmins, C.N. Mudaliar, T.M. Nair, and P. Tyagaraja founded the Justice movement in the Madras Presidency. The Madras Presidency Association was established in 1917 to call for lower castes to have distinct representation in the assembly. As we study Modern Indian History for the UPSC Civil Service Exam, we will learn about the Justice Movement in this article.
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Justice Movement History
The main source of contention in this movement is between Brahmins and non-Brahmins. Non-Brahmins started to ask for their rights and criticise the Brahmins’ hegemony in many areas of life. In Madras Presidency, Zamindars and Maharajas founded the South India Welfare Association in 1916 to combat the growing influence of Brahmins in society and politics.
The organization’s notable non-Brahman leaders included Dr. TM Nair, Theagaroya Chetty, Dr. C Natesa Mudaliar, Panagal’s Raja, and Sir A Ramaswamy Mudaliar. The organisation started off by putting out the English journal “Justice,” and as its fame increased, it was known as the Justice Party. In the 1921 Madras Presidency, a government was established for the first time in Indian history thanks to the participation of this Justice party in the election.
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Justice Movement Formation
P Subramaniam and M Purushothama Naidu, two young attorneys, created the Madras Non-Brahmin Association in 1909 in response to smouldering feelings against Brahminical power and the need to tackle it head-on. Despite the organization’s failure for a number of reasons, it planted the seeds for the Justice Party.
Natesa Mudaliyar served as the Madras United League’s secretary when it was established in 1912. Later, it adopted the name Madras Dravidian Association. The South Indian Liberation Federation (SILF) was established on November 20, 1916, by over 30 prominent non-Brahmin leaders, including Dr. Natesa Mudaliyar, Sir PT Theyagaraya Chetty, TM Nair, and a lady named Alamelu Mangai Thayarammal.
After the publication of the “Justice” journal to advance the movement’s objectives, it became known as the Justice Party. The ancient public hall in Victoria was the setting for the conference. Periyar was chosen to lead the Justice party in 1938. The Self-Respect Movement and the Justice Party were renamed Dravidar Kazhagam in 1944.
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Justice Movement Leading Factors
After losing against Brahmin candidates in the elections for the imperial legislative council and local council, respectively, Theyagaraya Chetty and TM Nair saw the need to politicise the non-Brahmin movement. Theyagaraya Chetty and Nair worked together to start SILF despite having political differences, courtesy to Natesa Mudaliyar.
Tamil Nadu’s heritage of social justice is a result of the Justice Party’s formative years in office. In order to legislate reservations, the party introduced the so-called communal G.O. Periyar, who is an interesting side note, left the Congress when the party failed to pass the communal G.O. Periyar.
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Justice Movement Objective
Its goal is to improve all communities in South India besides Brahmins in terms of education, society, economy, and politics. Additionally, it seeks to develop non-Brahmins through constitutional government, to establish a truly representative government, and to sway public opinion in favour of non-Brahmins’ demands.
The 1919 reform by Montagu Chelmsford established dyarchy in the presidency and designated certain departments for Indian Ministers to be selected among elected members. A. Subbarayalu became Madras’ chief minister in 1920 after the Justice party gained the majority in the first election held under the new democratic system. After Subbarayalu’s passing in 1921, the Raja of Panagal took over. Congress participated in the Non-Cooperation Movement by abstaining from the elections.
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Justice Movement Significance
The Justice Party published their anti-Brahmin manifesto in December 1916. The manifesto evolved into a crucial text that eventually influenced the emergence of the Dravidian movement. Women were given the opportunity to vote and a noon meal program was put into place when the Justice Party was in power. The party also played a crucial role in opening up political opportunities for women, enabling Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy to become India’s first female legislator.
When the Justice party was in power, Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy’s pioneering work led to the Devadasi system’s abolishment. Through a communal government ordinance, the Justice Party ensured that non-brahmins of all categories had an acceptable amount of possibilities in both education and employment. Sudra and Panchama prejudice was eradicated from public transit, roadways, dining establishments, and public wells.
In order to control temple laws, they established a newly created Hindu Religious Endowment Board and gave the Panchamas land known as Panchami Land. New townships and industrial parks were constructed. Low-income families’ kids received an education. In a few schools, they introduced the “Noon Meal Scheme” for the first time. Sanskrit proficiency was no longer a criterion for enrolling in medical school, allowing non-brahmin students to do so.
Societies of cooperation were promoted. The Mirasdari government was overthrown. Several irrigation plans were put into place in 1923. The Annamalai and Andra Universities were founded under the Justice Party’s rule. Even though the British only gave the Justice Party a few portfolios, it nonetheless managed to form the most effective administration.
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Justice Movement Decline
Power abuse and corruption were present. The minority and downtrodden groups stopped supporting it. The self-respect movement started by Periyar has expanded in scope. The pro-British stance of the Justice Party is a key factor in its demise. Rajagopalachari was elected premier in 1937 after the Congress won the Madras Presidency elections as a result of Periyar’s unwillingness to run for office and Gandhi’s rising popularity.
The Justice Party’s downfall was partially influenced by its reputation as a grouping of wealthy landowners and upper-caste non-Brahman intellectuals with Western education from Tamil Nadu and Telugu countries. The Dalits in the area weren’t properly represented.
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Justice Movement UPSC
Despite its flaws, the Justice Movement was successful in eradicating the Devadasi system, encouraging intercaste and interreligious unions, and making non-Brahman priest weddings lawful, which helped to lessen Brahminical power. For UPSC exam preparation, this article has all the information you need about the Justice Movement.
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